If a company routinely charges more for its products than the competition and its product is often inferior to the more affordable option, that business won’t remain open for long. But thanks to deep-pocketed backers and a government that has handed over hundreds of billions of dollars in federal student aid without asking too many questions, the for-profit college industry continues to rake in the bucks while frequently leaving its students with subpar educations and faint employment hopes. Some federal regulators have attempted to make the industry more accountable, but these schools continue to take advantage of loopholes while legislators and consumer advocates scramble to make reform. [More]
Here at Consumerist, we love libraries. They’re like some weird, old-school version of Netflix, but with books! And free! That makes them one of the most cost-effective sources of entertainment and reference material around. Unfortunately, Ohio may gut the funding on this public resource if the proposed state budget goes through.
President Obama this week declared war on the Chinese Poison Train, announcing that the FDA will receive $1 billion in new funds for modern testing labs and additional food safety inspectors. Inspecting less than 5% of our food processing plants is apparently a “hazard to public health, and “it is unacceptable.” So what’s really behind the new policy shift? No, it’s not those melamine murders or salmonella outbreaks. It’s seven-year-old first daughter Sasha Obama!
Last week the House voted 354-58 to approve a college funding bill that requires colleges to “make plans to offer some form of legal alternative to P2P file-swapping” and to implement some form of network filtering. Luckily for sane people everywhere, the White House has already made veto-noises at the bill for other reasons—but still, the MPAA came that much closer to forcing its admittedly false worldview on universities.
An Amtrak train traveling from San Diego to Santa Barbara ran out of fuel eight miles from its destination. Hartford Courant Editor Jeanne LeBlanc’s daughter happened to be on the train, and recounted Amtrak’s puzzling response.
Ars Technica is reporting that there is a provision in a massive new education bill that would punish schools that don’t police p2p traffic on their networks by cutting federal financial aid. In addition, the bill requires that schools offer an industry approved alternative to file sharing, such as Napster or Rhapsody.
It’s been more than two years since the CPSC first became aware of problems with the spray-on sealant Stand ‘n Seal—it contained a chemical that can cause extreme respiratory problems in some customers, but was only partially recalled by the manufacturer and then replaced with another product with the exact same chemical—but the CPSC has yet to issue any fines to the company, writes the New York Times. It’s yet another example of how an underfunded, underpowered CPSC fails to protect the public from reckless companies who swap ingredients, lie, and hide important data in order to protect their bottom line.
The RIAA’s campaign contributions are hard at work this week as members of Congress threaten to cut off federal funding to educational institutions if they don’t stop file sharing on their networks.